Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Final and Going Home

The end is finally upon us - we will be departing Johannesburg in exactly 5 hours on a non-stop flight to Atlanta. Last night we each witnessed our very first World Cup Final match in person, as Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time.

It was a surreal experience. We arrived about 5 hours early to the game to avoid any hiccups, and cruised around the stadium until it was time for the closing ceremony. I'm sure the ceremony looked a lot better on TV, because where we were sitting, it wasnt great and you couldn't hear much.

Unfortunately we were all sitting separately, having bought tickets on our own accord, but we each made friends with the people we sat next to. I had a Moroccan on my left and two Dutch fans on my right. The Dutch guy next to me had just flown in that morning from Thailand to see his team play in the Final.

As a side note, we also met a USD alum in the stadium before the game, just because we were wearing our USA gear. Small world, and a picture that needs to go in the alumni magazine!

It wasnt the classic we had been hoping for, because the Netherlands clearly thought their only chance at winning was to foul the Spanish midfielders each time they touched the ball. Eventually this backfired and Heitinga was sent off just a little bit before Iniesta put home the winner.

Nonetheless it was quite the spectacle. Being there is totally different from watching at home - we got no commentary, no replays, just the pure sport for 120 minutes.

So we close the chapter on our month-long journey to South Africa, with wonderful memories and solidified friendships. See you in Brazil!

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